Pre-christmas in hamburg: with ticket to the service

The Corona Advent season begins on Sunday. The retail trade is in the doldrums. The main church St. Michaelis offers a service with reduced seating.

It may not be that crowded this year: Advent singing in front of the Michel 2019 Photo: St. Michaelis

The red and yellow "Herrnhut stars", in their inexpensive home improvement store variant to be seen more and more often, announce it already. Next Sunday is the first Advent. It is the time for coffee meetings with candles, exchanging wish lists, baking cookies, hectic shopping and wild Christmas parties.

A lot of things are not going to happen this year. Company parties are likely to be cancelled. Jostling in the stores also seems unwise. Retailers are desperate. Associations expect consumers to spend 100 million euros, but mostly online. And those who do store analog tend to do so in hardware stores rather than boutiques.

The churches are quite well positioned. The North Church gives recommendations: don’t sing, keep your distance, avoid forming groups, don’t use song books, wear an everyday mask until you are seated. The congregations should "offer several, but short services," says a spokeswoman.

For the first Advent, the "Michel", Hamburg’s large main church, is inviting. Already on Saturday at 16 o’clock there is a devotion with stories for families with children. A maximum of 400 visitors are allowed into the church, which otherwise holds 2,200 people. Afterwards, the Christmas tree will be illuminated on the forecourt. From now on, visitors to the Michel must register online by January 1. For Christmas Eve there are eight dates with 200 visitors each. Six of them are already fully booked. But depending on the pandemic situation, more tickets could hopefully be released.

Lonely stores

The North Church has recently started offering a "ticket and booking system" for all its congregations, for which the Protestant Church has concluded a framework agreement with the company "Church-Events". This is intended to facilitate the planning of church services. Whether the congregations use it is up to them, according to a spokeswoman. On Christmas Eve, there will be creative activities, such as stars as a sign of hope.

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